Derby Day Hat

Pattern: Vogue's Sun Hat Package #7600 
Fabric: Italian felted wool remnant from this dress
Cost:  free

There's a horse race track near us that does a 'Dollar Day' special every Sunday - $1 bets, $1 hot dogs, $1 beer. I had always wanted to go but never been so my friend and I made plans a few months ago. Soon we were designing our outfits and roping everyone in. As the day fell on Mother's Day, I invited my parents to join us and it turned out so well! Everyone came dressed in style, and even the sun came out. I wasn't so good at the betting, but I can eat hot dogs and drink cheap beers all day!

The race was also the day after the Kentucky Derby (or Daaahby, if you're Cillian Murphy), so there were a lot of fun hats to be seen around the track. For the occasion, I decided to try my own hand at some basic millinery. I had recently scored a free copy of an old Vogue 7600 and had some Italian felted wool laying around that, although heavy, did just the trick.

The pattern in itself isn't difficult. There's one piece for the dome, and one piece for the brim, plus one more of each for the lining. I used the stiffest interfacing I could find for the brim, and a lighter one on the brim lining. I do wish I had used a stiffer interfacing for the dome part, however, as it's not as rigid as I'd have liked. The brim and lining were glued together rather than quilted for a more traditional felted hat look.

I did make a few pattern modifications. The brim was shaped longer in the back, but for a more traditional looking hat I shortened it to all the same width. The brim is actually not as wide as I anticipated, so I could see lengthening it all around instead. It is shaped to fit a bit closer to the neck in the back which, although a bit unexpected, gives it a nice shape.

I also curved the darts around the dome a bit more than called for in the pattern. There are three darts plus a center back seam, but the darts don't end very smoothly, resulting in a less than perfect curve. I changed the stitching line slightly, and then used lots of pressing with steam to mold the hat into a more spherical shape. Wool is great for this, as it really responds well to steam. It's not perfect (and I could really use a round, head-shaped pressing ham), but in all it's not a bad first attempt. Because I didn't use very stiff interfacing in that part, I also tried some spray starch to stiffen it up.

My only other word of caution is on the sizing. It's not a big deal, but the hat is sized S-M-L, while the instruction manual only has a size chart for size 8 through 22 using bust, waist, and hip measurements. We had a few good laughs about this over on Instagram -- does your bust measurement predict your head size?? I usually have my hats and bike helmet set to the smallest width, so a small worked out just fine. I did measure the flat pattern and my head before cutting just to make sure.

Mr. Made also got a matching impromptu bow tie, which he wore with his Meg-made blazer and slacks. I wore my floral dress with a black shirt under for warmth. Here are some more shots from the day:

Aren't hats the best?! I hope to be back soon with some Me Made May and other recent projects. 

1 comment:

  1. that hat looks great. I bet it would be cute in a floral cotton for a summer version. and fun day at the races! Mr. looks good too in his blazer.


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